While the number of female entrepreneurs has been low over the years, many countries are experiencing increased growth in female entrepreneurs. In fact, recent studies show that the number of startups that seek funding that have at least one female as a founder has improved. The number has risen from 9% in 2009 and 18% in 2014 to 20% in 2019.
To some level, this is good news. It shows that the number of women entrepreneurs is increasing by the year. However, raising funds as a female entrepreneur is not that easy. If anything, these reports are a clear indication of how few female entrepreneurs have access to funding.
Of the many challenges that women entrepreneurs face, raising funds ranks at the top of that list.
Still, there are ways female entrepreneurs can raise capital for their startup. If you are a female entrepreneur, here are some of the ways you can raise funds for your business:
Many governments are working towards attaining equality and encouraging women to be entrepreneurs. These programs include funding options for women entrepreneurs only. Ensure that you research on government programs in your region that support women entrepreneurs. These might be easier to get through than those that support entrepreneurs from both genders.
Yes, there are private grant companies that fund women-owned startups only. The grant companies require the business to be 100% owned by a woman. Eileen Fisher, for example, gives grants to women-owned businesses in the environmental and climate industry. Cartier Women’s Initiative is another program that extends funding to women entrepreneurs from any country and any sector.
These private grant companies usually have annual awards, so it is important to keep tabs on every available one and apply early enough.
Venture Capital Firms
If your business has high growth potential, a venture capital (VC) could be a great funding opportunity. Unfortunately, your business needs to be ongoing with an excellent track record for venture capital firm to fund you. Also, VC firms get an ownership share in the company in return for the funding.
The good news is that there are venture capital firms that focus on funding women entrepreneur, which helps close the gap where most firms have been accused of being biased towards women entrepreneurs.
One of the venture capital firms that focus on women is SoGal Ventures, which funds businesses in the US and Asia. It invests in undervalued entrepreneurs and women and has funded over 80 startups. Another venture capital firm to consider is Global Invest Her Opportunities, which focuses on B2C and B2B-model companies.
Angel investors provide seed company for a business that is starting, so you do not need a track record of the business’s performance. These investors could be an individual or a business. You might not get million-dollar funding from an angel investor like you would from a VC firm. However, if you can show your business has great potential and also give the investor ownership in the company, you will get funding.
Apart from raising funds from your friend and relatives, or borrowing money from your banker, you can turn to funders that invest in women-led or owned businesses. The competition is high, with research showing that most of the funded startups are dominated by men. But, with venture capital firms, government programs, and seed investors that only focus in women, gets less competition.